Times 27,047: Out Of Th’ Loop

8.5 minutes on the clock for this medium difficulty puzzle, which doesn’t do too much out of the ordinary cryptically (assuming that you’ve seen the “in prime positions” device before – but I reckon it probably pops up at least as often as the Rev Spooner these days) but has some unusual vocab and oblique definitions to contend with.

FOI 5ac and then 17ac, LOI 18dn after the “MULCHAN? MALCHUN? Ohhhh!” penny finally and quite satisfyingly dropped. Not sure if the 13ac and 17ac combination indicates that the setter has been on a fitness drive lately… or perhaps they’ve decided to inflict harder puzzles on us going forward?

Clue of the day to 14dn for being an excellently fun and unlikely-looking word. Familiarity-breeds-contempt award to 23dn which seems to have been popping up everywhere lately. Though I’m sure Boise is very lovely at this time of year…

1 Corporal drunk in charge when guarding master (7)
SOMATIC – SOT I/C [drunk | in charge] when guarding MA [master]

5 Somebody‘s mum pinched by sexist? (3,4)
BIG SHOT – SH [mum] pinched by BIGOT [sexist?]

9 Make laws on introduction of inflammable rubbish (9)
LEGISLATE – LEG [on] + I{nflammable} + SLATE [rubbish, as in “to pan”]

10 Prime letters for clueing a single Italian (5)
LUIGI – the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th letters of {c}LU{e}I{n}G + I [a single]

11 Important vitamin fed to young animal (5)
FOCAL – C [vitamin] fed to FOAL [young animal]

12 Extreme difficulty with fit on small loose garment (5,4)
SHELL SUIT – HELL [extreme difficulty] with SUIT [fit], on S [small]

13 Socrates’ usual complicated challenge for division? (7,6)
ASSAULT COURSE – (SOCRATES’ USUAL*) [“complicated”]. A challenge “for division” not mathematically, but in the sense that soldiers conventionally have to undertake it.

17 Pervert acts as his mood changes (4-9)

21 Line-up so worried about Times sacking? (9)
EXPULSION – (LINE UP SO*) [“worried”] about X [times]

24 John with odd bits of foam sponge (5)
LOOFA – LOO [john] with F{o}A{m}

25 Artist‘s champ (5)
MUNCH – double def

26 Brandy man on beer, drinking very quietly (9)
APPLEJACK – JACK [man] on ALE [beer], “drinking” PP [very quietly]

27 Party enforcing six-pack ban? It’s not possible (2,3,2)
NO CAN DO – a DO is a party; supposing that beer were to be prohibited at it, it could be a “no-can” do.

28 Old Frenchman‘s grazing cattle finally moving forward (7)
PASTEUR – PASTUR{<-E} [grazing, with the E (“{cattl}E finally”) moving two spaces closer to the start of the word.]

1 Primarily sold packed lunches in fast food joint (6)
SPLIFF – S{old} P{acked} L{unches} I{n} F{ast} F{ood}

2 Tricky staff? (5,4)
MAGIC WAND – cryptic def

3 Hollow skins left in Tuesday’s scraps (7)
TUSSLES – S{kin}S L [left], in TUES [Tuesday]

4 Attendants from Europe breaking frame I chucked out (9)
CHASSEURS – EUR [Europe] “breaking” CHASS{i}S [frame, with its I “chucked out”]

5 Mark‘s first wife overlooked by brother (5)
BREVE – EVE [the first ever wife] overlooked by BR [brother]

6 Old scientist from Middle Eastern lake, briefly over (7)
GALILEO – GALILE{e} [Middle Eastern lake, “briefly”] + O [over]

7 After vacation, homework at uni contains first-class poem (5)
HAIKU – H{omewor}K + U [uni] “contains” A1 [first-class]

8 Finally bet on neither odd number (8)
THIRTEEN – {be}T on (NEITHER*) [“odd”]

14 College works to introduce new electronic notes? (9)
TECHNOPOP – TECH OP OP [college | works (x2) ] “to introduce” N [new]

15 Intelligent European principle (9)
RATIONALE – RATIONAL E [intelligent | European]

16 Savings at an end: it stops celebrity backing spender with lowbrow tastes (5,3)
ESSEX MAN – {saving}S + SEX [it] “stops” reversed NAME [celebrity “backing”]

18 Marshall in LA worked with 25 (7)
MCLUHAN – (LA + MUNCH*) [“worked”]

19 Hush after street leaves complaint (7)
ILLNESS – {st}ILLNESS [hush, after ST (street) leaves]

20 One who fails to beat king and queen (6)
TANKER – TAN K + ER [to beat | king + queen]

22 Anxiety relating to certain countries that’s not his (5)
PANIC – {his}PANIC [relating to certain countries, that doesn’t have its HIS]

23 State bore recalled stopping Nixon regularly (5)
IDAHO – reversed HAD [bore “recalled”] “stopping” {n}I{x}O{n}

55 comments on “Times 27,047: Out Of Th’ Loop”

  1. Well, I rather lost the will after falling into the trap at 18d of thinking I only had a 50/50 chance of getting the unknown answer. As it turned out, I had a 33% chance of getting the unknown answer, having not even considered the right possibility…

    My hour ended with that one guessed wrongly, and 14, 20 and 28 still to get. I was still figuring out whether “technopus” might be a thing when the bell went. Just a little bit too oblique for me, this one.

    1. I guess it would be more of a case of “the hard is the message” than “the medium is the message” if you’d never heard of Marshall McLuhan! Fortunately I had so it was a nice “once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains…” moment.
      1. Oddly, I seem to be quite McLuhan-adjacent without actually knowing his name. Reading his Wikipedia entry I can see his influence in a few things, not least the work of William Gibson, plus I note Douglas “Generation X” Coupland wrote a McLuhan biography.

        I imagine if I’d been born twenty years earlier, I’d have stood a lot more of a chance with the clue…

        1. Completely stuck on McLuhan – particularly when convinced that 25ac must be Monet or Manet. I was convinced that there must be a Marshall Maletan or Maleton – they do sound like a French WW1 general.
          Humbug indeed.
  2. 40 mins pre breakfast on IPad.
    On route to Oxford today for the rowing. How posh.
    Mostly I liked: Munch and NoCanDo.
    Thanks setter and V.
  3. As someone who’s actually read The Medium is the Massage (sic), this was a highly satisfying clue to solve.
    Actually I thought this was a cracking puzzle, though for quite a few answers I couldn’t work out the cryptic bit (e.g. 10a, 16d), so thanks for the enlightenment V.
  4. I thought it was just going to be me who came up with MALCHUN so I’m glad to see I’m in good company. I never considered that the C could go anywhere but the middle even though I knew Marshall McLuhan from the early Genesis song Broadway Melody of 1974:

    “Lenny Bruce, declares a truce and plays his other hand.
    Marshall McLuhan, casual viewin’, head buried in the sand.”

  5. I actually remembered McLuhan, not that there’s much reason to. He played himself in ‘Annie Hall’, for what that’s worth. I actually thought of ‘prime’ at one point, then forgot to check it out and just biffed LUIGI. I second everything Jackkt said. Also DNK SPLIFF or SHELL SUIT.
    1. Not knowing SPLIFF and SHELL SUIT clearly indicates you’re nowhere near ESSEX MAN. Congratulations!
    2. I feel like McLuhan was still all over the place in the 90s when we were all obsessed with postmodernism, maybe 9/11 and the new world seriousness but an end to all that nonsense though?
    3. The McLuhan bit in Annie Hall is priceless. If you ever get irritated by people you should watch that bit on YouTube – you’ll feel a lot better.
      Philip S.
  6. 25.31, so appropriately for a puzzle with MCLUHAN in it of medium difficulty (don’t think I know any other quotes).
    I’d not seen the prime letters device before, and thought it was even cleverer by miscounting the I of single as the eleventh letter.
    My CHASSEURS come from the Sharpe novels as cavalry in rather fetching hats, or from kitchens equipped with mushrooms and shallots, so I took the attendant bit on trust.
    APPLEJACK (especially without the hyphen) sparked today’s earworm, so if you want my love, won’t you tell me when?
    The Socrates clue was a beast, obviously an anagram but indicating all sorts of garden paths to get lost in.
    Good, crunchy, offbeat puzzle: impressive time and blog as ever, V.
  7. 44mins, but defeated by the Mc Marshall. A trap I’ve fallen into before, settling for MULCHAN, not thinking of “Mc”. Perhaps I’ll remember in future. Struggled with the long anagrams and the NW corner took me a while to crack open. Some clever clues I thought… almost too clever for me. CHASSEURS and TECHNOPOP unknown, but got from the wordplay in the end. Nice. LEGISLATE my COD. Thanks setter and V. P.S. Yes. IDAHO twice in the same day!

    Edited at 2018-05-25 07:14 am (UTC)

  8. Much of this was too obscure for me to appreciate. Why is “Essex man” clued as a spender? Doesn’t everybody spend money?

    Old Frenchman = PASTEUR, just a little loose as a defintion, I fear, especially if one doesn’t know the defintion of ‘pasture’ as ‘grazing cattle’.

    Didn’t know the ‘prime letters’ trick, so LUIGI was impossible explain.

    I don’t like cross-referenced clues at the best of times, but having their answers intersecting is a step too far.

    If I’ve heard of APPLEJACK I thought it was a cider. BREVE as a mark was also unknown.

    Edited at 2018-05-25 07:50 am (UTC)

    1. I think ESSEX MAN is clued in as a “spender with lowbrow tastes”, presumably based on the TOWIE model, though specifically defined in Chambers as “an archetypal SE English working-class male without cultural interests or good taste but with a large disposable income which he spends freely, mainly on consumer goods and entertainment”.
      As one currently living in Essex, I can both vouch for the accuracy of the description and object 100% to the stereotype.
      1. I was ESSEX MAN for the first 20 years of my life, so I can vouch that as the saying goes “you can take the man out of Essex but you can’t take Essex Man out of his SHELL SUIT” (or something along those lines).
      2. Thanks, z. Yes, I realized the definition was more than just ‘spender’ but I wondered why ‘spender’ was relevant. My family roots on my mother’s side go back to Essex (Quendon village to be precise) but the family were all long gone before the modern stereotype was thought of.

        Edited at 2018-05-25 08:13 am (UTC)

        1. I’ve certainly driven through Quendon when the M11 has been sticky. I’m pretty sure it’s still that other Essex untouched by our tasteless spendthrift in his shell suit.
  9. We saw a magnificent production of An Ideal Husband last night at the Vaudeville. I took an hour on this puzzle, proof positive that I’m not dull? Mrs BW just muttered something about I’m certainly not ideal. I was champing at the bit for a long time before MUNCH screamed at me, and then took as long as I’ll be famous to see the anagram and come up with McLUHAN. Great clues, good puzzle. Just so we’re not only picking on Essex, there must room for a Scouse joke that a SHELL-SUIT is wedding attire. Thank you V and setter.
  10. Hadn’t thought of him in decades. Couldn’t parse LUIGI but he was my back therapist at NYP hospital and the pummeling I got from him brings thoughts of 17a and The Scream to mind. A bigot might well be a sexist but a lot of other things too. And I didn’t recognise CHASSEURS as attendants, I thought of them as detachments of the French cavalry at Waterloo. I found this really rather difficult. 26.05
  11. I battled with this for 46:26, before giving up on working out the parsing for my LOI, LUIGI, and biffing him. I could see that the required letters were in clueing and a single, but the prime device eluded me. The mental effort involved in teasing out the other unknowns and tricky definitions was all in vain as I hadn’t heard of the Marshall, and, like Matt, considered I had a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong rather than 3 too 1 on. Bah! Thanks setter and V.
  12. Never heard of him, hence biffed “mulchan” and DNF for the first time in ages.

    Again struggled to get going (FOI LOOFA ten clues in !), and biffed Luigi (thanks V, a new device for me to remember !).

    I’m cross with myself for failing to spot RATIONAL(E) only 24 hours after labouring with it yesterday, and it was LOI.

    COD NO CAN DO. Also impressed with BIG SHOT and ESSEX MAN.

    I should go and read up on my Canadian philosophers, but life really is too short.

  13. Pleased to have completed without help, and submitted only to find that I hadn’t done 16d. Request to Head Office (whoever They are) please don’t let me submit if I haven’t completed it.. It does that on my iphone, for heaven’s sakes. Oh the crossword.. Well I got MCLUHAN ok (after wondering about MANET, MONET etc) but never did work SHELL SUIT out.(LOI) And it took me a while to remember that Times is an X not a T. Otherwise a good work-out.
  14. Having had to resort to going through the alphabet for TANKER (my LOI; I’d almost convinced myself it was JACKER), crossing my fingers for SOMATIC and missing the LUIGI trick for some time, I thought I’d got there in about 13 and a half minutes – only to discover that Marshall McLuhan is apparently someone. I was another MULCHAN, enjoying as ever an obscure word clued as an anagram.
    1. You’re lucky: I spent more time than I care to record wondering whether “beat” and Wide Area Network might meet somewhere in the Thesaurus and thinking it might be Sunday.
  15. A steady solve with a few confident biffs, only hesitation being LUIGI which I never managed to parse. I’ll remember that ‘prime’ trick – judging by the lack of comment, a familiar device to most, but new to me (or forgotten). 27m.

  16. Sorry for the brief digression but is anyone else struggling to get into the Puzzle Club at crosswordclub.co.uk? I get the sign-in page, but then a blank page afterwards. Tried on Safari and Firefox, and refreshing the page doesn’t change anything.
    Thanks – Nila Palin
  17. Sorry for the brief digression but is anyone else struggling to get into the Puzzle Club? I get the sign-in page, but then a blank page afterwards. Tried on Safari and Firefox, and refreshing the page doesn’t change anything.

    – Nila Palin

    1. It was working fine earlier, but I see a blank page now too. The website appears to be ‘up’, so it looks like it is broken.
      1. Many thanks for the confirmation. My browsers are getting old so I thought it might just be me.
        Cheers – Nila Palin
        1. Just checked, and tried entry via the Times site, but no luck either way.
  18. 34 minutes – but can’t submit to puzzle club, as link still not working. LEGISLATE LOI, as I couldn’t see how to parse it (could have been biffed as FOI). SW held up by trying to decide whether MANET or MONET could have been champion at something, and failing to derive any plausible 18dn.
  19. No time today as in two bits, the second given me an opportunity to get MCLUHAN – never read, ni what he’s about. The penny dropped when I realised Marshall has two ‘L’s. Surprised setter didn’t find room for ‘chav’, ‘lumpen’, ‘benefitstreet’ or some other stereotypes. A BREVE was originally just a mark on the stave – it was the shortest note at the time. Thanks verlaine and setter.
  20. Late to the party because of the misbehaving club site, though I doubt I’d have been any sharper if I’d tackled it earlier in the day. Never felt that I was on the wavelength, and rather ground out a result, sharing the general struggle with MUNCH/MCLUHAN and working out why LUIGI was right; also being very slow to see SOMATIC and TECHNOPOP and PASTEUR and RATIONALE, and…well, quite a lot of this puzzle, to be honest, so well done, setter. Them’s the vagaries.
  21. 19:53. I thought this was tough but very enjoyable. Lots of funny words to work out from wordplay.
    Fortunately I had heard of MCLUHAN. The two things I know about him are ‘the medium is the message’ and that cameo in Annie Hall. That’s pretty much the only thing I know about Annie Hall, in fact: I’ve never seen the rest of the movie.
  22. Like pootle73, got MCLUHAN from the Genesis ‘Broadway Melody’. Really struggled with TANKER (a contrived agent noun on the fringes of acceptability imho) and had to do a long alphabet trawl to get it, but at least I didn’t cave in to the temptations of lamker and panker. Anyway, 40 mins. 16dn is a clunker of a clue, I think: the surface reading is creaky, and the singular verb ‘stops’ is used to indicate the insertion of two elements. Also, in 12ac ‘extreme difficulty’ = ‘hell’ is pushing it, I feel. So not my favourite overall, but probably just me being grouchy, and the setter certainly got me scratching my head, which is good, so thanks for that 🙂 Great blog V, cheers.

    Edited at 2018-05-25 03:55 pm (UTC)

  23. Both these words (no WAND, though) were also in today’s QC.

    Never heard of ESSEX MAN, which sounds like an archaeological discovery, so I appreciate the explanation.

    The definition of TANKER seems a bit stretched. Sure, we say someone “tanks,” but I’ve never heard that noun used for a “loser.”

    Americans may not have the term SHELL SUIT, but historically have been quite prone to wearing them. Off the rack. And look at our “president.”

    First one in, SPLIFF. Great way to start. Ahhh, yes…

  24. Well, in stark contrast to our ensteamed blogger, I found this one very tough going indeed, and am not even going to declare my time. NHO CHASSEURS, nor MCLUHAN, the second of which was more a matter of luck than judgement.

    I very much enjoyed the little dip into number theory in the top-right corner. Perhaps when science and technology have established themselves fully as crossword fodder, we might see some of the prettier pieces of maths appearing more often.

  25. I filled the grid in just under an hour at lunchtime but had a nagging feeling that mulchan (preferred to malchun – the ‘m’ was never going to be followed by a ‘c’) just wasn’t right. Went to see Deadpool 2 after work. Pulled the puzzle out again after the film and finally saw McLuhan. I confess, I assumed he was a Sheriff in Bonanza or Gunsmoke or something. Perhaps I should move to Essex. A cracking challenge this puzzle with some well-hidden definitions and not much to chisel away at in the wp.

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